There are various natural ways to cure, manage, or relieve pain. They include essential oils, herbal remedies, and other complementary and alternative therapies.

People have used essential oils, herbs, and alternative therapies as natural pain relievers for hundreds of years.

Researchers have not fully explored these options, but some evidence suggests that certain remedies can help and that many people find them useful.

In this article, we discuss 12 natural pain relievers and the science behind them. Read on to learn how to manage pain naturally without relying on over-the-counter pain medication.

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Lavender essential oil may help relieve pain naturally.

A 2023 studyfound that inhaling lavender oil, or applying it topically to the skin, significantly decreases the severity of pain experienced by people having a needle inserted into their artery.

Some research also suggests that lavender oil has pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects in animals.

People should talk with a qualified healthcare professional before using any new essential oils.
They should also take care not to ingest them, as they can be toxic. If applying an oil topically, they should always dilute it in a carrier oil. Always talk with a qualified healthcare professional before using any new essential oils.

Learn more about carrier oils here.

Rosemary is another essential oil that may relieve pain.

Some researchers state that the rosemary plant, Rosmarinus officinalis L., may help treat headaches, muscle and bone pain, and seizures. Rosemary may also reduce pain in people experiencing opium withdrawal, reduce inflammation, relax smooth muscles, and boost memory.

A more recent review concludes that rosemary oil may be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.

People should dilute essential oils in a carrier oil such as olive oil. Three to five drops of essential oil should be added for each ounce of carrier oil.

Peppermint oil comes from the Mentha piperita L. plant.

Some research suggests that the peppermint plant has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and pain-relieving effects. The active compounds in peppermint oil include carvacrol, menthol, and limonene.

One 2015 review notes that people have traditionally used peppermint to relieve painful spasms and problems associated with arthritis.

The researchers also report that applying peppermint oil to the temples and forehead may relieve tension headache pain.

Indeed, people often use diluted peppermint essential oil as a topical treatment, meaning that they rub diluted oil into the area that feels achy or painful.

People should avoid putting peppermint oil on broken skin or using it on children. It can cause allergic reactions, so doing a spot test before using it on a painful area is recommended.

The final essential oil on this list of natural ways to relieve pain is eucalyptus oil. This herbal remedy from the Eucalyptus plant may help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the body.

One 2022 study found that inhaling eucalyptus oil relieved pain and increased quality of life in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Participants inhaled eucalyptus oil for 5 minutes, 3 times a day, for one month.

A person should not use eucalyptus oil around children. It can triggerdecreased respirationandis toxic if a person swallows it.

It is important to dilute it in a carrier oil and do a skin test before applying topically.

People have traditionally used cloves, from the Eugenia caryophyllata plant, as a home remedy to relieve pain from toothache.

A 2021 study found that clove oil was comparable in pain reduction to that of ice during intraoral injection in children. It was also found to be more potent than lignocaine gel, which is a local anesthetic.

Researchers also believe that clove can have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiviral activity.

People also use capsaicin, present in chili peppers, for natural pain relief.

A 2020 study notes that capsaicin offers high levels of pain relief, improvements in sleep, fatigue, depression, and quality of life.

Another 2021 study found that topical capsaicin is effective in reducing neuropathic pain.

Researchers are not yet sure why it relieves pain, but it is thought to work by decreasing the amount of pain-transmitting chemicals from the nerve cells in the area where a person is experiencing pain.

This substance can cause a mild burning or tingling sensation when a person applies it topically.

Ginger, or Zingiber officinale, is a root that shows promise as a natural pain reliever.

A 2017 study found that ginger powder was as effective as ibuprofen in controlling postoperative pain.

An earlier 2015 systematic review also found that ingesting 2 grams of ginger per day modestly reduced muscle pain from resistance exercise and running when people took it for at least 5 days.

The researchers also suggest that ginger may accelerate recovery and reduce inflammation related to exercise.

A person could try including ginger in the diet by using supplements or adding it in raw form to smoothies. However, the natural, fresh ingredient may be more healthy.

Always talk with a qualified healthcare professional before taking any new supplement. Dietary supplements can have side effects and may interact with existing medication.

Feverfew, also called featherfew or bachelor’s buttons, is a medicinal plant. Traditional uses include treating fever, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, toothaches, and stomach aches, as well as increasing breast milk.

Feverfew contains compounds that may reduce inflammation and muscle spasms. Some researchers believe that the key active compounds include sesquiterpene lactones and flavonoids.

The American Migraine Foundation states that there are mixed results about how effective feverfew is, but that it is probably helpful for preventing migraine headaches.

A 2023 study concludes that feverfew may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective effects.

Feverfew can cause side effects such as nausea, digestive problems, and bloating. So, it is important to talk with a qualified healthcare professional before trying feverfew.

Curcuma, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, has pain-relieving qualities.

A 2021 review claims that curcumin shows a reduction in pain similar to that of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, researchers recommend turmeric as a safe adjunction to NSAID therapy rather than in place of it.

Turmeric is also a common herbal remedy for reducing inflammation. To include turmeric in its natural form in the diet, a person could try adding it to curries, smoothies, or juices.

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy that advocates believe can help reduce pain. Recent research supports these beliefs.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that acupuncture can help with certain types of pain, including:

It may also reduce how frequently people get tension headaches and could help prevent migraine headaches.

A 2018 meta-analysis found that acupuncture is an effective way to manage chronic pain. The researchers concluded that acupuncture could help with musculoskeletal pain, headache, and pain associated with osteoarthritis.

More research into the effects of acupuncture for other pain conditions is now needed, but increasing evidence is suggesting that acupuncture is effective for many types of pain.

In fact, acupuncture may help in more than 100 different conditions.

Yoga is a physical meditation practice that may offer a way to manage pain naturally.

Managing back pain often includes stretching and physical therapy. Yoga provides this.

It incorporates breathing exercises, self-care, and relaxation methods, so practicing yoga may also relieve pain related to stress or anxiety.

A 2020 study found that 12 weeks of yoga helped to significantly reduce lower back pain.

The NCCIH states that yoga may help relieve lower back pain and neck pain, but that there is not enough evidence that it can help for other conditions, such as headache, arthritis, or fibromyalgia.

People experiencing chronic pain are increasingly turning to mindfulness meditation as a natural treatment. More research is needed, but initial studies are promising.

A 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis looked at 38 studies and eventually concluded that mindfulness meditation can improve pain symptoms, depression, and quality of life. However, the authors say that larger studies are needed to see exactly how effective it is.

Below are some commonly asked questions about natural pain relief.

How can I relieve pain naturally?

Essential oils, such as lavender oil and peppermint oil, may relieve pain naturally. This is also the case for certain herbs such as clove and feverfew. Acupuncture, yoga, and mindfulness meditation are thought to be natural pain relievers too.

What herb is good for pain and inflammation?

Herbs that are potentially good for pain and inflammation include:

  • clove
  • capsaicin
  • feverfew
  • curcuma

What is the fastest home remedy for pain?

Relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and heat and cold treatment can be home remedies that alleviate pain quickly.

When a person takes traditional pain relief medication as prescribed, with guidance from a qualified healthcare professional, it is a safe and effective way to manage pain.

Natural pain relievers, however, offer an alternative for people who want to avoid the long term side effects of pain relief medication.

People can use essential oils by adding a few drops to a tissue or a steam bath and inhaling the vapor. People can also add the herbs and spices listed above to food. However, if a person is unable to do that, they can instead take them as supplements.

Not every natural pain reliever will work for everyone. Some people may find that a natural option that works well for them in the long term. Others may not be able to manage pain naturally and may prefer traditional medication.

Anyone with severe pain, including pain related to an existing health condition, should speak with a qualified healthcare professional. They can advise how best to manage this.